Hello all, I'd hate to come across as a noob (I've been registered on UG for about 10 years now but have never visited this particular forum) but I have been writing songs for about 20 years now and just recently started toying with the idea of attempting to become a professional songwriter. I am primarily a rock musician and I have written approximately 500 songs over the course of the last 20 years, about half of which I have recorded or intend to record myself. However, the other half of the songs I have written (about 200 songs or so) are from all different genres of music and don't really fit in with the rest of my material. Some of these songs have just been "sitting around" for 15 years or so and some are more recent, but the thought only recently occured to me that I could be cashing in on some of these songs that I'm not doing anything with rather than letting them go to waste. I realize that making a living as a professional songwriter is not always easy, but I was wondering if anyone here has any advice for someone who is trying to get their foot through the door. I am not really sure who I should be contacting, whether I need to record a demo, or anything like that. I do play several different instruments and have a home recording studio if that helps. For anyone who is taking the time to read this whole thing, I thank you very much and any advice for this struggling (and broke) up and comer would be very greatly appreciated.
There are several good books that can help you a lot and keep you from wasting your time, money and possibly losing your material. Don't listen to anyone who tells you to just make crude demos and send them to a publisher. That's not gonna work. Most publishers have a hard and fast rule: No unsolicited material will be accepted. That means unless you have asked and been accepted to send in material, it all goes into the garbage unopened. It's one way publishers can protect themselves from anyone who claims they sent in material that a publishers ripped off without consent. They can go to court and prove that their company does not accept or open any unsolicited material of any kind.

Firstly, forget about having 200 songs available. Get it down to two or three of the best ones and concentrate on rewriting and editing and making them great. Do some quality demos. Get help if needed from better singers or players. You'll hear from some people that the recording quality of the material isn't that important but let's be real. If you had to sit all day and listen to crappy sounding low tech demos and all of a sudden you get a well recorded pro demo, which one would you be most interested in listening to again? Make the demo about the song not the performance. By that I mean no solos or long boring intros or outros. A publisher is not looking for talented musicians they are looking for sellable songs. It's the publishing business and you need to know how the business works or you'll be spinning your wheels so I recommend the book below on the publishing business. It will tell you a lot about the why and how and legal aspects of the business gives you valuable information on how to get your material to the right people and in the correct format to actually insure someone listens to it. Good luck.


Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Mar 1, 2016,
Wow, thank you so much Rickholly74. There is a lot of valuable information in there. You have saved me a lot of time and wasted effort knowing that publishers won't even look at unsolicited material. In regards to the amount of songs I have written, I do have a few songs in mind for each genre I have written in that I believe would be the best representation of that genre. I'm still not sure whether I should record a few different demos for the different genres of music or if I should just record one demo and really try to push it, but one thing you've made clear is that a quality demo is necessary. Another piece of advice I have been given is to enter into songwriting competitions online. Would this be worthwhile or would that also be a waste of time?
I just wanted to post here to encourage you to go for it! A songwriting career has definitely got to be one of the best things to ever have! I look forward to your success buddy!
Songwriting contests are fine unless they are asking for an high fee to enter, then it's just a gimmick. See who is sponsoring the contest and who is judging the contest. Look up the names of the sponsors and judges and see if they are legit with real credibility and reputations. Some are scams some are real. Just think if you offered a contest with a $5,000 prize to the winner but charged $50 per song to enter, you only need 100 entries to pay off the winner. If you got 500 entries you can pay the winner $5,000 and walk away with a $20,000 profit and you probably didn't do anything illegal. Be careful.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.